Philosophy has a reputation for being abstract and analytical, somewhat apart from the world. So we asked Charles Taylor if philosophers have an obligation to the world we live in. After this segment he continued talking about the idea of how our modern selves cope with change and can adapt to new and previously unthinkable concepts. “In the world we’re living in you re-gestalt the way you see things and become a different person,” he said. “It can be done.”
Taylor’s most recent book is The Language Animal, which revisits an old argument between continental and analytical philosophers about the function of language. UCLA historian Anthony Pagden writes in this essay about how The Language Animal addresses the ongoing conflict between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, offering hope that there is a language-driven process for resolving some of our most intractable modern tensions.